FARC makes up to $3.5 billion from drug trade


This Dec. 31, 2004 photo shows police officers escorting the leader of the rebel Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, 'Simon Trinidad' (second from left) at a Colombian military airport in Bogota. FARC leaders have named Trinidad, whose given name is Ricardo Palmera, as one of three delegates they want to attend peace talks with the government on Oct. 8, 2012, in Norway.



Colombia Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón said that guerrilla group FARC makes anywhere from $2.4 to $3.5 billion per year from the drug trade.

Pinzón, who also noted that the rebel group currently has 8147 members, continued by saying that "of the 350 tons of cocaine produced in Colombia, 200 are linked to FARC," reported MercoPress. The defense minister said that those are the figures the Colombian government works with, and that they have been collected by multiple intelligence sources.

According to Colombia Reports, Pinzón estimated that the drugs represent "some $6 to $7 billion" and that the FARC receives "between 40 and 50 percent of this value." He also noted that the rebel group currently has the lowest number of members in its history, down from 20,000 members in 2000.

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"It is a very different organization," said Pinzón, who added that the FARC "have lost four members of its secretariat, between five and six of its major players and around 50 heads" over the last six years.

But not everybody agrees with Pinzón's assessment. According to InSightCrime, a recent calculation released by the Attorney General's Office put the FARC's drug-trade total at $1.1 billion. In 2003, the United Nations development program listed the group's annual income at no more than $342 million, with $204 million coming from the drug trade.